I am in Tokyo for a simple reason: Love. Being here also is made easy due to the fact that nowhere in the world can you cover the world’s automotive industry with greater ease than in Tokyo. Companies that are in charge of about a third of the world’s automotive output are not more than a few subway stations apart. Sure, companies like Toyota or Mazda officially are headquartered elsewhere, but they have substantial presences in Tokyo. From where I live, it’s 45 minutes to Toyota, 30 minutes to Honda, 30 minutes to Nissan in Yokohama. All by train, few people still drive in the world capital of cars. [Continue Reading]
After decades of slogans like “See the USA in Your Chevrolet” and “Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet,” General Motors GM +1.27% has retreated from its overtly patriotic marketing approach since emerging from government-funded bankruptcy. Maybe that was a wise move, given that American taxpayers paid for the $50 billion bailout of “Government Motors” and not all of them were happy about it.
But another dynamic also seems to be at work: The auto maker has fundamentally shifted its focus. American taxpayers may have rescued GM during its moment of need, but it is China that is disproportionately benefiting from the bailout of America’s erstwhile automotive icon. [Continue Reading]
Where did the names of Volkswagen’s Passat, Golf, Scirocco, Polo come from? What is their meaning? For four decades, it was shrouded in mystery. Forty years later, a famous former Volkswagen CEO, Dr. Carl Hahn, and his illustrious former sales chief, “WP” Schmidt, help us get to the bottom of an unsolved question. [Continue Reading]
Of all the issues broached in the presidential campaign, the auto-industry rescue of 2008-09 stands out as an example of the triumph of spin over facts.
Keying off the New York Times’s headline for Mitt Romney’s 2008 op-ed, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” President Obama has argued that the only alternative to his “bold” rescue of General Motors and Chrysler would have been a disorderly liquidation of the entire U.S. auto industry. Yet a close reading of Mr. Romney’s op-ed reveals that his proposal was actually quite similar to the course of action the president took, right down to government funding of the bankruptcy reorganization process and warranty backstops. [Continue Reading]